Respectfully, Shit On You

In the war between Najib Razak and Mahathir Mohamad, much of their battles are fought online and over the mass media, and less on the ground among party divisions, regional and inter-party affiliations. This is telling, especially coming from Mahathir; it shows he has no mobilization, no masses, no solid springboard to do a coup.

More tellingly is to watch those ex-journalists setting up camps for one side or the other. Journalists because they think themselves as exemplary virtues of sane, impartial and unemotional people; paragons of pure, unbiased reason.

Now, to choose between Najib and Mahathir gets tricky still. Tricky? Because most of these scribes and hacksters grew up and built a career on the back of a government administration so that, in their heydays, when an Umno chief tells Kadir Jasin or Helen Ang or KTemoc (absconded to Australia) to jump, they will ask only ‘how high’.

Here’s Ahi Attan aka Rocky Bru having to choose side because it will be Najib’s fault once Barisan flops: if Pakatan wins then Barisan’s cover on its collective sins will be lifted and those people will go down.  What’s Ahi to do? Accept Mahathir’s staggering rationale or keep the faith with Najib. He does neither and says this, in near-weeping tones: “I’m just a blogger and I don’t cover up…

Annie is not a journalist, but she is too fearful of differing from journalist-bloggers (which is strange, of course). So, when journalists say they are neutral then she, too, is neutral: “I am out of the equation and now just a bystander or at most an observer.” It might be on her mind yet: Why can’t we have politics without taking sides? Poor Annie….

Helen Ang, ex-Star, ex-New Straits Times, sums up the attitudes and thinking of these journalist-bloggers. It says in her post title: To disagree with some hotshot, even if the disagreement is banal, she has to beg, and then to beg she has to be respectful when begging. And what was the disagreement demanding her respect and her begging? Answer: Whether the curry after she had eaten it was made out of blue or green chillies. Watch out for Helen on a PJ sidewalk squatting with a filthy sarong and a bowl in hand, and a sign that reads: I respectfully beg for your money….

And KTemoc…. He is a class unto himself, stirring his own shakes.

From a 2010, June 6, posting

Lynching the Chinese Peasant:

The Western Media & Its Local Minions

The West, its journalists, its liberal “activists”, its democrat politicians prefer people like the peasants above to stay in the farms where in their imaginations is a Garden of Eden existence. They will campaign for all that, everything, except to put money where they have their mouths.


The Western media are at it again: lynching the Chinaman. Seeing an opening, their crusade against Chinese this time went after their companies and workers. Samples.

First, headline from AllVoices, which is akin to Malaysiakini’s online Citizen Journalism:

Chinese factory Worker Dies Making Iphone (sic)

Second, at Slate, the so-called “liberal” magazine from America, which has this:

The iPad Suicides

Then its Farhad Manjoo (here’s photo of the kid) prods his reader to:

… blame yourself for all those deaths at the Chinese electronics factory…. If you’ve got an iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac Mini, Xbox, Wii, or one of a number of generic PCs, it’s likely your gadget was made at Foxconn.

Next, at Der Spiegel, the anti-Chinese magazine with a proclivity for exporting German fascism. It calls Foxconn a “Suicide Factory” and linked that to its working conditions:

Hundreds of thousands of people live and work at a Foxconn factory complex in southern China, in what critics say are sweat-shop conditions.

Inventing, you see, is easy – just sit down and type away your prejudices. Der Spiegel’s fascist reporter Wieland Wagner (see bottom passage) took advantage of Foxconn’s hospitality and reception organised to try help dispel the point of sweat-shop conditions. Wagner came out, then wrote this:

Liu Kun, 40, who calls himself the director of media relations, goes around in a sweat-soaked shirt. He avoids the word “factory,” preferring the word “campus” — as if Foxconn were a university. In a battery-driven golf cart — steered by Chen Hongfang, second in command at the company union, which is controlled by the Communist Party — Liu shows a visitor around the palm-lined streets.

The Western media aren’t interested and is equally incompetent in producing hard facts. All over Der Spiegel is plain verbiage. What one gets therefore is a morality tale, the way they are spun at Malaysiakini and Malaysian Insider with “views that matter” produced by Josh Hong and Nathaniel Tan et al.

Brendan O’Neill at the Spiked! (from which the top headline is taken) was willing to stick his neck out against the White man hysteria and the tirade of Sinophobia. And that with just plain numbers:

The problem with these arguments is that they are built on dodgy facts and even dodgier politics. It is just not accurate to say that there has been a particularly weird spate of suicides at Foxconn. It is worth bearing in mind that Foxconn’s Longhua factory employs somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 people (that is, it is more populous than the British cities of Nottingham, Belfast and Newcastle). [For the record, Foxconn employs more than 800,000 China-wide.] And according to the most recent figures from the World Health Organisation, the suicide rate in China is 13 males and 14.8 females per 100,000 of the population. This means that, technically, it is rarer for a worker at Foxconn to commit suicide than it is for a Chinese person who doesn’t work at Foxconn: one might expect there to be somewhere between 39 and 52 suicides amongst Foxconn’s vast male and female workforce in Longhua over the course of the year, in keeping with the national average rate, or roughly 20 suicides in the five months of the year so far. There have been 12. As one of the very few critics of the ‘iPad suicides’ hysteria has pointed out, perhaps a little bit glibly, ‘Working at Foxconn dramatically reduces people’s risk of suicide!’

What is really driving the ‘iPad suicides’ story is the desire to create a cheap moralism in which the allegedly greedy behaviour of mainly Western consumers is held directly responsible for the living conditions of people ‘over there’. It is an updated, secular version of what Catholics used to say to children who didn’t eat their dinner or who demanded Nike trainers: ‘Think of the little black babies who have nothing…’

Against the wave of Western racism – kicking the Chinaman at every opportunity – is China’s media voice to the Western world. The Global Times alone pleaded, asking for neither sympathy not condemnation but simply, understanding:

The lack of empathy is evidenced in the coverage of the latest horrendous event of the suicides of some Chinese workers at Foxconn.

Many foreigners, along with some Chinese, jumped at the conclusion to criticize the horrible working conditions at some of the manufacturing industry in China, especially those at Foxconn. They issued harsh words of criticism that put the blame for the suicide of workers on the shoulders of the management of Foxconn.

But they fail to grasp the fact that perseverance and the ability to deal with the tedious challenges of life helped the Chinese civilization to survive for thousands of years. Hope and aspiration are the driving forces behind the developing Chinese economy.

They ignore the fact that China is a developing country. Decades ago, many Chinese people had to struggle for survival, and could barely scratch a subsistence existence. So they believe that finding a job, whatever it involves, is better than sitting at home sulking.

Most of the workers at Foxconn are migrant laborers that come from small villages … still suffering from poverty and a big gap between the urban and rural areas, which prompt many rural inhabitants to sell their land and migrate to big cities searching for a better life. One must admire them for the courage to relocate to a new environment….

And that could have only been written by someone who truly understood the Chinese, one Thabet Hassan, a Canadian Egyptian poet and educator in Hubei.

Der Spiegel’s gweilo reporters get paid RMB 1,300 a day, including Sundays, RMB 39,000 a month, just for talking inside air-conditioned rooms – yes, nothing else, just talk. So they say you work in a sweat shop: Go back then to the farm, work the plough; no sweat there?

And they just took that photograph of you for free that they then sell to other magazines and newspapers, each for a one-time use at RMB 50,000. Now you know how much to ask for when Der Spiegel wants an interview – or a photo. All cash upfront in RMB, no cheque, no Visa; that’s a human right. No money, no photo, no interview; after that Wieland Wagner (which, BTW, is a Nazi name) can write anything that suits him.


Song of the Shepherd Girl

Chunjie Letter

  Malaysia’s Year of Hope

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Dear Syed Akbar Ali,

Thank you for your chunjie wishes. We don’t see much of it these days, and one day it might even be haram. We return your greetings from our motherland. The top image above was taken from the woollen embroidery on a blanket illustrating a family returning home; below it is the modern method, and notice that the man is missing. (Why that’s so is a story for another time.) Spring New Year travel in China is quite a challenge but, considering the mammoth task of transporting more than 600 million in under one week it is astonishing the system works. We, the Chinese, can be super efficient once we put our minds to the task.

There is another enduring quality of Chinese society: it is secular-humanism and this has changed little since the days of Zhou dynasty (1045 – 256BC) from when it had evolved and strung together from various strands of Chinese thought, Daoism included. Most of the credit is given to two persons you might have heard of, Confucius and Mencius, synthesizing those ideas that pre-dated them. Below is an example of those ideas as expressed by Su Dongpo 苏東坡 or 蘇東坡 (1037-1101), a regional and high ranking Song era official writing during the Chinese new year (David Hinton translation):

On New Year’s Eve I should be home early,

but this office full of business keeps me.

Writing-brush in hand, hiding my tears,

I face all these bound prisoners, helpless

little people scrambling for food, snared

in the law’s net, and no reason for shame.

I’m no different: adoring a meager salary,

I follow orders, losing my chance to live

quiet and far away. No telling who’s noble,

who vile: we’re all just angling for a meal.

Could I free them for the holiday at least?

I brood in shame before ancients who did.

Note the last line: he speaks of ‘shame before the ancients’, to whom we, the Chinese, measure our conduct, behavior, even thoughts, to those of our forefathers and their ethical standards. It also says that, by the time of Su Dongpo, humanism was already mainstream and had deeply entrenched itself in the Chinese soul, passed on in large part by family instructions, social etiquette, literature, the arts and, more formally, education and ritual pratices and rites. Chunjie or, as you say it, the Chinese New Year is a part embodiment of these ritual and rites. (Think of the family reunion dinner and the giving of lishi, the latter of which was once abused by that fella named Ibrahim Ali. Remember his white angpows? It is to the credit of this humanism that the Chinese don’t cut off his head for the insult.)

But, Chinese culture is not for export unlike, say, Arabian Islam or Anglo-Saxon Christianity. In spite of the universal quality of its ethics, the culture tended to instruct and goad the Chinese towards insularity, that is, looking within ourselves for ‘salvation’ (for the lack of a better word). One might be tempted to call it a kind of pre-modern selfie which has given the Malays and Anglophiles (Petra Kamarudin, Lisa Ng, for example) in Malaysia the completely erroneous impression that the Chinese are an insular people, only on the lookout for themselves.

Another, more accurate way, to see Chinese society is, as a web of concentric circles radiating from its core an individual, not alone but situated within the immediate family then extending to other relatives, clan, village, town and finally the country. There are no borders of conduct, nor does an individual or group stand independent from the rest. In the strands of the web — the strands representing the ethics — each is entwined and so affects the other.

Once we picture Chinese society within a larger (say, Malaysian) web of social organisation, you can then place the Malay person, or a mamak such as yourself, at any point in the series of concentric circles. Relationships are formed out of the ethical strands of the web’s organisation which, and this must be said, is hierarchical;  a father-and-son relationship is closer than that of a person-friend. But in this Chinese world, classes of people disappear, race, religion, sect, economic and social standing, with which the West had organised itself and had its beginnings. In the Sino-Confucian view, it is difficult to view the Malay neighbor as a member of another, distinct or even alien group if — and this is the caveat — the neighbor does not insist on being a separate class, especially a class to itself or above others (PAS Above All). Unfortunately, that’s how Malaysian politics has organised its citizenry, very Western and very tribal (Islamic) at the same time.

It is on the issue of the Malays taking a segregated pathway — you mean Islamification, becoming like Pakistan — that has occupied your recent postings, namely How We Are Becoming Stupid — Just Like Pakistan and Destroying Capacity. Your prognosis is dire, but one needs to be circumscribed; the fact that Malaysia isn’t Pakistan although both have emerged as political entities independent of British colonialism at the nearly the same time says something about the strength of Malay society and undercurrent of its resistance to the goals of PAS and some bigots within Umno. Others, Jebat for example, might reject your pessimism and particularly in absolving PAS of its role in undermining and in stifling Malay progress with its brand of Arabian Islam. For evidence contrary to your assertion, look at Kelantan.

Mostly, however, you blame Anwar Ibrahim beginning from around 1983 but he couldn’t have gone far with his towelhead ideological Islam without Mahathir Mohamad’s acquiescence. Mahathir gave Anwar the tools of the state to act, hence the power of influence, so he must account of that horrendous mistake, the kind of mistake Muhammad Ali Jinnah committed on Pakistan. Like many Malays, there is no reason for the Chinese to cry over the destruction of Anwar which we now see as a repudiation of Mahathir’s ideas and actions from his time as prime minister. How can it be anything else but repudiation once Mahathir and Umno pummel into political oblivion their favorite boy?

But the principled point is not in Anwar’s destruction, or concomitantly Mahathir’s self repudiation. It is how best way to go forward for both the Malays and Malaysia, how to unravel the laws and practices that Anwar’s towelhead ideas have entrenched into the system? You rightly mentioned that nobody, not even the Eminent 25 Malays, now dare to dismantle Syariah and Najib Razak has shown his spinelessness by acting to the contrary, stepping on the Islamic gas pedal instead. Malays dare not even pet their poodles in public view and Malay girls can’t even get a friendly, innocent hug from their favorite pop star; so one can empathize with your prognosis, for, indeed, the situation seems hopeless.

We, the Chinese, like to think that what man makes, he can un-make. And the way to do it is to lift up elements of Chinese culture in Malaysian officialdom, in the consciousness of our peoples, openly adopting it in public discourse, media especially. Chinese-ness is not a proselytizing creed (and forget about that imbecile Lim Kit Siang and the DAP); the Chinese is a vital part of Malaysia, its history and its development so there is no need to apologize its official adoption. It will especially countermand, counteract, the effects PAS and Anwar had left behind, pulling Malay consciousness in another, more humane direction.

So, we’ll leave it at that…. Salam.



Sabariah Abdullah of the Islamic Information and Services Foundation.

Dear Sabariah:

Salam, and thank you for the Foundation’s free offer of the Quran — 1 million copies is it? — to the Chinese, Indian and the other infidels. We have to respectfully decline to accept your generosity, which as you imply was made in all ‘honesty’ for the purpose of interfaith understand. But, really….

You’ve to forgive us, in particular the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBHST) for responding to your offer with so much cynicism.

But, Buddhists and Daoists have no reason to be cynical; they are not raised nor taught to be suspicious of the world out there. The world is as it is, so they make no attempts to fundamentally change the world. They are Stoics not theists; salvation is not a matter of faith nor belief but of individual abstinence, a removal from the world, with or without God in it.

As for Christians, that’s another story. Imagine: Once you turn a million infidels into Muslims, where does that leave Christianity? They, too, want our souls just as you might. So there is reason to believe it was the Christians who were behind that cynical response to your offer, especially with the assertion that your project is an underhand tactic to convert infidels. Why? Because proselytization is a lynchpin of Christianity, and they make no bones about it so it isn’t just Malays and Muslims who have to endure their practices but also, above all, the Chinese and Indians.

Within the MCCBHST, the Hindus have on numerous occasions raised this problem with the Church. Families have broken apart. Kids converted to Christianity (the Assembly of God churches in particular) have look down their noses at their parents as ‘sinners'; Hinduism is considered voodoo (even Islamists say that); their parents are regarded, condescendingly, as heathens and pagans; and the children denounce them as idolaters. The impact has been endemic.

Within your ummah, there is probably the same thinking. PAS mullahs, for instance, have openly stated that the Chinese and Indian — since they are godless — are ripe for the conversion, living as they are in a sea of Muslims who, in their turn, have the backing of law and numerous state apparatus such as your foundation and your free Quran.

You can therefore see why the MCCBHST should be suspicious of your offer: first it is the Christians and now you. More than the others, it is Christians who most distrust your offer — they themselves being guilty of going about wrecking havoc on other people’s lives — and so will want to instigate people against your project, if necessary, using the offices of the MCCBHST. Very likely they even wrote the statement.

As pagans (that is, pagans to both Christians and Muslims) we ask ourselves: what have we done to earn your generous offer? Indeed, why do you want us to understand Islam when your religion and the Malaysian government do next to nothing to encourage you to understand us?

Over the decades — no, centuries — we, the Pagans and the Muslims, have left each other alone. As Pagans we have our own schools, our own language and to practise our way of life, causing neither you nor your ummah any distress nor come in any way of your beliefs. (One cannot say this about the like of Hannah Yeoh, but then they are not pagans.) Yet… some Muslims have, in the name of Islam, forcibly taken our children from us, converted them, then abducted our parents, even the dead ones. As if that’s not enough, Malays now complain that the independence of the Chinese is a cause of ‘disunity’, whatever that is, and demand to close down our schools. Then they want us to leave Malaysia and tens of thousands have done so already. Apa lagi Melayu mahu?

You made specific mention of the Bible in hotel rooms as justification for the Quran’s free distribution, without however asking, who owns those hotels and those bibles. You don’t ask: Who are the people laying down those bibles which you also see as a surreptitious attempt to convert Malays? Rather, your thinking is this, if Christians can do it to Muslims and Malays you are therefore entitled to do it to others.

Your beef, then, is with Christians. That being so, why pick on the Chinese and Indian infidels? What have we done to you? You may want to save our souls, and so, too, the Christians. But no thanks. We’d happily end up in hell but that’s none of your business.

Let us, the pagan Chinese, suggest you therefore go after the Christians. Once you try to proselytize the way Christians and white people have done before, you are not honoring our unwritten code of conduct, which is something Malays have also long, long ago pined after. It is to leave each other alone.

If, however, you go down the path taken by Christians, brandishing the Quran like it were the Bible, then you are inviting trouble. Its consequences affect not just pagans but Muslims as well. Imagine the Christian returning a copy of the Quran to the Muslim and beneath it is the Bible, for free. They will say, and with some justification: you do it us, we do it to you. What then? Prosecute the Christian?

And pray tell, what shall the Pagans do with your Quran? Some might read it, even comprehend its message, and come away impressed, but many others might not understand. They might put it away, unread. Or, they might throw it out with the trash and if this is found by a municipal garbage worker who happens to be Muslim, what then? Prosecute the Chinese for ‘defiling’ your book? In some village, where people have other, more pressing worries with life and with a livelihood than to think about god, the pages from the Quran could be torn up and used to wrap fish sold in the market. Or it might be use for lighting fire beneath the pot? What then? Prosecute the poor pagan woman because she didn’t know better?

Christians proselytizing endlessly are an abominable lot; yet, you’ve become exactly like them. But Christians don’t have state backing and for this we, the Pagans, are thankful. For two thousand years they have tried to convert the Chinese and failed; why should the Chinese now change their mind and pray to a man carved out of wood? So they cannot go far. However, it looks like you could since your Islam has legal and constitutional backing. But why do our souls bother you so much. You claim interfaith understanding as justification, yet everything carried out on those grounds tend only to be one way. For example, our children are taught Islam but when was the last time a Malay was taught Hinduism or Buddhism which was the religion of your forebears before Islam’s arrival?

Now, we, the Chinese, ask that you desist in your project. Immediately. Forget your justifications; forget the law. If getting even with Christians is your intent, we suggest you go after Christians. We don’t care what you do with them, convert them, bury them in a tonne of Quran books, jail them, behead them, eat them, whatever. But if you deign to come after us, we say, you’ll fail. If, in waving the Sedition Act, it is apology that you want, then get it from the Bishop or from Hannah Yeoh. We, as Pagans, have given no offense to anybody; it has always been the other way around and we keep silent. But to use us, Pagans, so as to get back at Christians we then say this to you, Sabariah: Fuck off.


For Sabariah:

A Justice in Malaysia from Anhui

South west of Shanghai, sitting along the tributaries of the Yangtze River, the province of Anhui rarely see snow. Daily winter temperature is usually below 10 degrees C. But it snowed late last month in January in Hefei, capital of Anhui. In recent days the day time temperature was 5-7 degree despite a blazing sun and a cloudless sky.

Luzhou is in the outskirts of Hefei, hemmed in by forested mountains. It was here in these mountains Bao Zheng was born, AD 999, died 1062 (pic below; family name Bao , given name Zheng popularly know today as Justice Bao, translated from the hanzi 包青天 Bao Chingtian).

This was the Song era when a highly legalistic system of law and justice, founded on a set curriculum, was already in place and widely in use. The Malay word then didn’t exist; the ancestors of Zul Fahmi Bahrudin were probably living in jungle trees, their groins covered in attap leaves, never their aurat covered, surviving on guavas and eating the flesh of captured monkeys, and the only power of a so-called sultan belonged to some men who possessed the biggest count of wildpigs, having no horses nor palace of gold, nor fine silk nor jade cutlery; and America was not yet invaded and populated by white people; Europe was a region of warring tribes who believed the earth was flat, the sun went around it, and they bowed and prayed to a man they call Jesus carved out of wood; and Europeans hadn’t yet learned to use gunpowder nor celebrate the new year with firecrackers and fireworks.

Bao Zheng grew up then in a vastly different set of circumstances, clearly more advanced – and civilized – than that Zul Fahmi could comprehend, even today. But, Bao Zheng’s mother would collect and sell firewood from the nearby cypress and pine forests to help finance the boy’s education, who eventually passed the jinshi, the highest level in a nine-tier civil service examination system set by the palace (the curriculum included Confucian text from the classical period). This point is significant for two reasons:

  • (a) although legalism had triumphed over Confucian humanism in matters of justice; law, no matter how severe, had incorporated Confucian ethics into it and especially relied on the humanity and discretion of the individual magistrates or officers to inflict punishment; and,
  • (b) all jinshi-level civilian, government employees – and they aren’t many – oversaw the lower rung officers but report direct and were answerable only to the emperor. Hence they carry with them, on their persons, at all times, one of the most important instruments of their authority, the palace seal such as the one pictured immediately below. (Another instrument is the Chinese sword, the skilled use of which must be passed by physical examination.)

包拯: 包公/包青天

Justice Bao in Malaysia

So for good reasons, and reinforced by Confucianism, the Chinese (not Anglophiles though) have an enduring habit of revering their historical figures such as Bao Zheng, some of who are fictionalized and  their character enlarged in drama, opera, and writings, poetry mostly. All of which, accumulated, serves the Chinese consciousness so that, over time, these figures contribute to the Chinese ethical foundations in a dynamic way. You can see why Mandarin study, hanzi, is vital to the Chinese being.

A principal means of honoring a person such as Justice Bao is to set up a memorial. This not only makes concrete but also brings him very close to the public, the commoners. Such acts of remembering are done, not by the government (not even in China), but by common people, mountain villagers, fishing folk, and so on — further evidence that puts a lie to the Malay and Anglophile words that the Chinese are apathetic to public affairs. In the Anglophile world, a memorial is called a temple with the connotation that a person like Justice Bao was being deified like he were a god, good in all respects. This is false. Justice Bao is remembered (in Klang, for example; see picture of his memorial below) not for his person but for the embodiment of two basic ideas:

  • One, law is power. In the Anglophone world one is taught to believe that law should be tempered with mercy, which is the extent of power, and this gives a judge too much individual discretion. In the Chinese world, law is better exercised when just, which is the extent of his humanity, and this is derived from the judge’s ethical training. In another, popular phrasing: man does not serve law but law serves man.
  • The second idea flows from the first: rule of law is not absolute. Because it is always in conflict with man, that is, people, rule of law raises a problem that is bound to afflict a magistrate or official as he goes about the business of the emperor (in modern times, the state). It is how to put a leash on law. And the answer is simply this: in applying law, it should be used to weigh the merits of the palace officer. Flipped around, the law is used to judge the judge, even the complainant. That’s justice.

Imperial China was so legalistic, rule of law so prevalent, that it is an offense to kill a buffalo because it is classified as a ‘beast of burden’. In one case brought before Bao, somebody had cut off the tongue of a buffalo which would render it unable to feed and, hence, die eventually (recall that killing it is unlawful). Bao suggested to its owner, the farmer, to slaughter the buffalo for meat. (Yes, kill it.) Another man then turned up to complain to Bao that the farmer had broken the law for killing that particular animal. How did the complainant know it had no tongue? The man confessed.

In that instance, law serves not to punish nor to rule over conduct but to ferret out the truth.

Bao understood the limitations of law and its uses in governance and so wrote the following, as the Chinese do in the highly metaphorical language of the Mandarin hanzi:

秀幹終成棟  xiù gàn zhōng chéng dòng — Elegant it may be, a stem is turned into a pillar

精剛不作鉤 jīng gāng bù zuò gōu — So refined steel cannot be bent to make into a hook

How might Justice Bao rule?

The following is a (suggested) written judgment from Justice Bao, if he had presided, and how he might have ruled on Anwar’s case:

Although the complainants are different persons, the defendant Anwar Ibrahim is the same. He is brought before me over the same charge in which he had been accused of before then convicted by one of my fellow Justices 17 years ago. If I find him guilty, I reaffirm the conviction set by my peer and my brother Justice. If I don’t, I’ve denounced him.

Now, to the charge which, precisely, is having ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’. I shall not look into what’s meant by carnal intercourse. This is well defined: intercourse through the anus. But what, exactly, is this ‘order of nature’?

Reading his judgment, I find no explanation from my fellow Justice. In the charge against Anwar, intercourse is carnal and against the order of nature not because it is committed with another male but through the anus so that if a complainant is female the same charge applies. Is such an act, therefore, unnatural?

Nature, it seems to suggest, is something natural, the birds soaring in the sky, the snow falling on Tian Shan, the pigs in the sty that eat and procreate daily with their own kind, siblings even. I’ve read that one specie of female scorpion eats the male the moment after copulation. All that is natural and natural to their own.

Unnatural, it seems, is something we don’t know or know enough or outside of our ability to know or see or hear. When people pray to a piece of timber cross with a man tied to it, is that natural? But, what a person believes in can’t be my business, natural or not. So it is with sexual intercourse, as well, committed in any way. There is just the word of the complainant who said it happened, and there’s the word of the defendant who said it didn’t. One man’s word against another.

In such a situation, I’m asked to decide on the impossible: first to decide what’s natural and unnatural and then to decide who speaks rightly the truth of the act when there are no other person who is a witness.

If the act was forced, the charge must be rape. If, however, the charge is sodomy, the complainant Saiful must presume the act is unnatural, and this leads me back to the same dilemma, which is to consider what’s natural, whether between man and man or between man and woman it doesn’t matter, and decide if Saiful’s complaint is indeed against the order of nature.

This is like asking to decide, is lying against the order of human nature? Yet, if something exists, whether it may be lying or carnal intercourse, or pigs with sibling pigs, or female with male scorpion, then that is nature. Unnatural is that which exists not. But Saiful was there; he knew, he took part in it.

I, Justice Bao, is therefore unable to rule if there has been carnal intercourse at all and, if there was any, whether such an act is indeed against the order of nature. Failing this, the defendant Anwar is to be set free and the complainant Saiful is to receive 100 lashes for bringing disrepute to the law by his complaint, because repute is the order of nature between subject and our Emperor.

Guards! Take him!


Why the Chinese should intervene in a Muslim-Malay affair

Above, Facebook page image of IS members, some from Malaysia. Below, Chinese troops train against Islamist terror. The Chinese first fought Arabs from the Abbasid Caliphate along the Talas River in what is now the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border. Tang Chinese lost in the Battle of Talas, AD 751, yet the Abbasids, in spite of their victory, never advance beyond Talas, thus establishing a de facto political and physical boundary in which no side will cross and an understanding to leave each other alone. That is, until Chinese Uyghurs began to take matters into their own hands….


At about the time a Mara student is prosecuted for joining the Islamic State of Iraq/Syria (how had the world, 10,000 km away, offended that student or his family to want to kill infidels and kafirs?), a Malay group, Perkasa members among them, mobbed a Datum Jelatek apartment construction site in Taman Keramat, Selangor, threatening blood and tearing down cladding. They can’t be sure if the Chinese will actually populate the area but, regardless, the group’s spokesman Salleh Majid wishes to kill Chinese should the project – by a Malay company – proceed. The political dimension in Salleh’s racism became evident when he said: “This is a DAP agenda.”

Almost simultaneously, as the rampage took place, Ikatan Muslimin or Isma issued a video threatening against a Hindu temple construction (actually a re-construction) in Klang, just as Perkasa has warned against another, new Hindu temple in Putrajaya. In all three instances, there is a moral dimension: the Chinese and Indians are considered as defiling Malay purity.

As these events unfold, the Selangor Pakatan government meanwhile was trumpeting the conclusion of Syaria-compliant city named Raudhah, which would be mapped and hammered out from a part of Cyberjaya. Raudhah City would be pure in its Islamic credentials. Was that to mean infidels such as the Chinese and the Indians shouldn’t buy property or live there because that’s the moral base – Malay and moral purity – from which springs Isma, Perkasa and Salleh Majid?

Ibrahim Ali, along with Mahathir Mohamad, Salleh Majid, et al, flatter themselves thinking they are as pure as Arabian desert sand when they can’t even fix a broken kampung light bulb. Hannah Hen Yeoh, mama of no-race Shay Adora Ram, might just retort: These Malays… no class. But all this has happened because of Chinese provocation, answers Helen ‘No-More-Aku-Cina’ Ang, Hannah’s nemesis, both anti-Chinese bitches, meeting in the center from two ends of the same Sinophobic spectrum.

The more likely explanation is this, and it’s offered inadvertently by Salleh Majid: Umno and the PKR-DAP alliance are preparing the ground for the next general elections. But this is well threaded ground, not without the political and social consequences one sees today in abundance.

Take, for example, Mohammad Arif Rokman, 23. He is being prosecuted by the government of Malaysia not for any act he has committed but purely over an intent – to join Isis in a foreign war that is no business of Malays or Malaysia. Yet, if intent becomes the sole judge of criminality then Najib Razak should be in jail long before him: In an Umno assembly Najib had openly praised the Islamic State fighters then brazenly told Umno Malays to emulate its ragtag multinational bunch of murderers that had taken on the useless and demoralised armies of Iraq and Syria but were no match for western power. So their way of fighting the west? Catch some individuals and behead them in front of a camera. Pity Mohd Arif, a Malay product, schooled by another Malay product, Mara; one moment told to conduct himself like IS killers then, at the next, is arrested for doing exactly that.

In the west the Left had made an alliance with Islamic radicalism in order to challenge American imperial and capitalist power. Today, after Charlie Hebdo, it finds itself unable and unwilling to criticize that branch of Islam, or Islamism, out of the worry they would be labelled Islamophobic. In Malaysia, the situation is identical: the DAP and Anwar Ibrahim (respectively, the Chinese and Malay left) collaborate with a bunch of Islamist towelheads in PAS just so to challenge Umno political hegemony. And the result forces every Melayu to kneel before some Abbasid tribal court, with Islam as pretext, but the worse for it is to hold the Chinese as hostages.

So, here we are instead: it is Umno, not the DAP, that is reduced to a spineless political force, unwilling to confront Islamism or even to call the beast by its true name for fear of losing its government privileges and moneyed largesse. One consequence: a gutless Umno panders to the like of Salleh Majid and Perkasa, and now to IS ideology, so as to look tough and brave and offer Najib some talking points in front of an inane Malay crowd. So weak, so namby-pamby is it that Umno has to hide behind a bunch of loudmouth bigots taunting Chinese with anti-Chinese rhetoric.

Umno dare not even own up to cultivating the like of Rahman Hussin (resident at Helen Ang’s), waiting to cut some Chinese throats, and now Mohd Arif heading to Syria to behead Americans: Najib Razak fears the horror of being ever told that the Americans have once again a Mohd Arif, or any Malay, in a Guantanamo cell: the Americans won’t play nice once they are through with that boy. Thus, when the tide turns against the IS, it is the police, an Umno apparatus, that arrests Arif instead, as if to show Americans that Umno or Malaysia is being tough on Islamism terror. Poor Arif: that boy doesn’t even know he has been, as Malaysians say, played out, an Umno Ketuanan victim.

It is this spinelessness, (although the weakling Umno calls itself ‘moderate’) that runs the gamut of Mahathir Mohamad’s opposition against Najib Razak. Either way, though, Umno’s gutless ‘moderateness’ leaves out an important question: how are the Chinese to respond?

Always made the bogeyman of Umno’s clumsy political machinations, it is the Chinese, not Umno, who must pay for the consequences, the backlash from the threats issued by the assorted Malay Ketuanan stooges, from Helen Ang and Ridhuan Tee to Salleh Majid and Ibrahim Ali and Mahathir Mohamad.

Against the individual interests of the Malays (both economically and psychologically), the Chinese, led by the MCA, had responded to NEP’s idiocy with complicity and sometimes by corrupting that very program itself, that is, buying out Malay material greed outright.

But the challenge today is vastly different: money will not do. Indeed, how do you win or buy over the like of Mohd Arif who has everything Umno purportedly gave him: money, school, job, career, housing and a thing called God? Even Umno understands instinctively it is failing to triumph over the Malay soul, and PAS continued existence is evidence to that. Another evidence is the turn to right-wing PAS bigotry by people such as Abdul Rahman Dahlan and Khairy Jamaluddin, both of who had made their names early on as ‘moderates’. Being moderates, they were, of course, a total lie. They are simply spineless so that it is only when they talk to Malays, they have no qualms speaking of spilled Chinese blood. (Rahman: you want to try saying that to the Chinese in China?)

The Chinese, not in Malaysia nor in the motherland, will not be intimidated. They, as a people, know how to deal with Islamism terror unleashed whether by ethnic Uyghurs or the Rahman Hussin types and when they are done with them, Guantanamo will look like kindergarten play – say all you like about human rights (see article on right column of page). Against all odds, against the Kitans, Mongols, Tibetans, Japanese, British, Americans and other white people and their Anglophile dogs, the Chinese, as a people, have not come this far in their civilization and history only to be cowed into existence 5,000 years later.

MCA, the good, servile Chinese that it plays so well, rarely faces down to Malaiyoo bigotry. It never stood up against the NEP in the blind faith that peace can be exchanged for a smaller bowl of rice; this has since proven to be false – repeatedly. It never stood up to Islamization of mainstream Malaysia, from Mahathir Mohamad on, again in the naivety that it had nothing to do with the Chinese nor will it impinge on the Chinese life. Wrong again. (One has only to ask Tan Yi Min’s father whose daughter was abducted – literally – before his eyes by some Islamic authority, abetted by the police.) MCA has stood up to hudud only because this aspect of Syaria came from the Umno opponent PAS. It was never out of any brotherhood moral concern nor for a humanist consideration, in particular for the Melayu who today are been dragged and pulled by the ears through the Syaria door over some trifling Islamic code of conduct.

There are, among the Chinese, Anglophiles in particular, notably Lim Kit Siang, Helen Ang, Wong Chun Wai, more concerned with avoiding accusations of being anti-Islam than they are with condemning Islamist zealotry. So they play footsie with the like of Abdul Hadi Awang and they play on their brand of multiculturalism rather than stand up to what is plainly anti-Chinese bigotry.

It is, therefore, not good enough for MCA to oppose hudud: there is more than sufficient cause to fight it head-on. That medieval Arabian barbarity must be defeated, and along with it Islamism (a term defined in the previous article), whether as envisaged by Abdul Hadi Awang, the ulamas, or by some Umno political opportunists and noveau riche Mahathir cronies (think Khairy Jamaluddin). The ethical imperative in this war is simply that, we, Chinese and Melayu, are going to be left alone and will not be bullied out of our lives and our existence by some towelhead purportedly speaking on behalf of some desert god. Malaysia must not suffer another victim, another Mohammad Arif Rokman or Tan Yi Min.


Free the Malays

Below are the two essays lifted from The Spectator, a UK right-wing weekly magazine. Read closely: the second is an extension, a qualification in fact, of the first. But both are equally applicable to Malaysia — the signs are everywhere — and so to serve as a caution to Umno and others that Malaysia and the Malays they seek so much to defend and preserve might just explode one day in their faces. Qanta Ahmad in the second essay is most pertinent. She is weak in pinning down what’s Islamism but one gets her point.

The central idea in the essays is this: In the hands of jihadists, radicals, imams, mosque preachers, politicians, (and Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia Today, Ibrahim Ali, Jakim officials, and Wahhabists), and spread by them, whether from the pulpit or by murder (even school children), Islam becomes an ideology, a sort of perverse Caliphate, and not as a faith, personal and assuring to the individual. Islam becomes Islamism and as Islamism Muslims find themselves locked in, unable and unwilling to live with the neighbor, whether Chinese or white, not even to sit down to eat and talk. After Charlie Hebdo, the west has woken up to their disasters of multi-culturalism and liberalism, that couldn’t and wouldn’t tell the difference, Islamism from Muslims. Democracies must have pluralism that Islamism would not tolerate (think Isma and Jawi). So bad is this situation that the only way out is not for the west to act — they can’t without giving up they own creed, liberalism. It is for Muslims, true Muslims, to deal with Islamism themselves because it is they, not the west (nor the Chinese), who have most to lose.


Essay 1: ‘Religion of Peace’ is not a harmless platitude.
By Douglas Murray

The West’s movement towards the truth is remarkably slow. We drag ourselves towards it painfully, inch by inch, after each bloody Islamist assault.

In France, Britain, Germany, America and nearly every other country in the world it remains government policy to say that any and all attacks carried out in the name of Mohammed have ‘nothing to do with Islam’. It was said by George W. Bush after 9/11, Tony Blair after 7/7 and Tony Abbott after the Sydney attack last month. It is what David Cameron said after two British extremists cut off the head of Drummer Lee Rigby in London, when ‘Jihadi John’ cut off the head of aid worker Alan Henning in the ‘Islamic State’ and when Islamic extremists attacked a Kenyan mall, separated the Muslims from the Christians and shot the latter in the head. And, of course, it is what President François Hollande said after the massacre of journalists and Jews in Paris last week.

All these leaders are wrong. In private, they and their senior advisers often concede that they are telling a lie. The most sympathetic explanation is that they are telling a ‘noble lie’, provoked by a fear that we — the general public — are a lynch mob in waiting. ‘Noble’ or not, this lie is a mistake. First, because the general public do not rely on politicians for their information and can perfectly well read articles and books about Islam for themselves. Secondly, because the lie helps no one understand the threat we face. Thirdly, because it takes any heat off Muslims to deal with the bad traditions in their own religion. And fourthly, because unless mainstream politicians address these matters then one day perhaps the public will overtake their politicians to a truly alarming extent.

If politicians are so worried about this secondary ‘backlash’ problem then they would do well to remind us not to blame the jihadists’ actions on our peaceful compatriots and then deal with the primary problem — radical Islam — in order that no secondary, reactionary problem will ever grow.

Yet today our political class fuels both cause and nascent effect. Because the truth is there for all to see. To claim that people who punish people by killing them for blaspheming Islam while shouting ‘Allah is greatest’ has ‘nothing to do with Islam’ is madness. Because the violence of the Islamists is, truthfully, only to do with Islam: the worst version of Islam, certainly, but Islam nonetheless.

Last week, a chink was broken in this wall of disinformation when Sajid Javid, the only Muslim-born member of the British cabinet, and one of its brightest hopes, dipped a toe into this water. After the Paris attacks, he told the BBC: ‘The lazy answer would be to say that this has got nothing whatsoever to do with Islam or Muslims and that should be the end of that. That would be lazy and wrong.’ Sadly, he proceeded to utter the second most lazy thing one can say: ‘These people are using Islam, taking a peaceful religion and using it as a tool to carry out their activities.’

Here we land at the centre of the problem — a centre we have spent the last decade and a half trying to avoid: Islam is not a peaceful religion. No religion is, but Islam is especially not. It is certainly not, as some ill-informed people say, solely a religion of war. There are many peaceful verses in the Quran which — luckily for us — most Muslims live by. But it is by no means only a religion of peace.

I say this not because I hate Islam, nor do I have any special animus against Muslims, but simply because this is the verifiable truth based on the texts. Until we accept that we will never defeat the violence, we risk encouraging whole populations to take against all of Islam and abandon all those Muslims who are trying desperately to modernise, reform and de-literalise their faith. And — most importantly — we will give up our own traditions of free speech and historical inquiry and allow one religion to have an unbelievable advantage in the free marketplace of ideas.

It is not surprising that politicians have tried to avoid this debate by spinning a lie. The world would be an infinitely safer place if the historical Mohammed had behaved more like Buddha or Jesus. But he did not and an increasing number of people — Muslim and non-Muslim — have been able to learn this for themselves in recent years. But the light of modern critical inquiry which has begun to fall on Islam is a process which is already proving incredibly painful.

The ‘cartoon wars’ — which began when the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten published a set of cartoons in 2005 — are part of that. But as Flemming Rose, the man who commissioned those cartoons, said when I sat down with him this week, there remains a deep ignorance in the West about what people like the Charlie Hebdo murderers wish to achieve. And we keep ducking it. As Rose said, ‘I wish we had addressed all this nine years ago.’

Contra the political leaders, the Charlie Hebdo murderers were not lunatics without motive, but highly motivated extremists intent on enforcing Islamic blasphemy laws in 21st-century Europe. If you do not know the ideology — perverted or plausible though it may be — you can neither understand nor prevent such attacks. Nor, without knowing some Islamic history, could you understand why — whether in Mumbai or Paris — the Islamists always target the Jews.

Of course, some people are willing to give up a few of our rights. There seems, as Rose says in his book on the Danish cartoons affair, The Tyranny of Silence, some presumption that a diverse society requires greater limitations on speech, whereas of course the more diverse the society, the more diverse you are going to have to see your speech be. It is not just cartoons, but a whole system of inquiry which is being shut down in the West by way of hard intimidation and soft claims of offence-taking. The result is that, in contemporary Europe, Islam receives not an undue amount of criticism but a free ride which is unfair to all other religions. The night after the Charlie Hebdo atrocities I was pre-recording a Radio 4 programme. My fellow discussant was a very nice Muslim man who works to ‘de-radicalise’ extremists. We agreed on nearly everything. But at some point he said that one reason Muslims shouldn’t react to such cartoons is that Mohammed never objected to critics.

There may be some positive things to be said about Mohammed, but I thought this was pushing things too far and mentioned just one occasion when Mohammed didn’t welcome a critic. Asma bint Marwan was a female poetess who mocked the ‘Prophet’ and who, as a result, Mohammed had killed. It is in the texts. It is not a problem for me. But I can understand why it is a problem for decent Muslims. The moment I said this, my Muslim colleague went berserk. How dare I say this? I replied that it was in the Hadith and had a respectable chain of transmission (an important debate). He said it was a fabrication which he would not allow to stand. The upshot was that he refused to continue unless all mention of this was wiped from the recording. The BBC team agreed and I was left trying to find another way to express the same point. The broadcast had this ‘offensive’ fact left out.

I cannot imagine another religious discussion where this would happen, but it is perfectly normal when discussing Islam. On that occasion I chose one case, but I could have chosen many others, such as the hundreds of Jews Mohammed beheaded with his own hand. Again, that’s in the mainstream Islamic sources. I haven’t made it up. It used to be a problem for Muslims to rationalise, but now there are people trying to imitate such behaviour in our societies it has become a problem for all of us, and I don’t see why people in the free world should have to lie about what we read in historical texts.

We may all share a wish that these traditions were not there but they are and they look set to have serious consequences for us all. We might all agree that the history of Christianity has hardly been un-bloody. But is it not worth asking whether the history of Christianity would have been more bloody or less bloody if, instead of telling his followers to ‘turn the other cheek’, Jesus had called (even once) for his disciples to ‘slay’ non–believers and chop off their heads?

This is a problem with Islam — one that Muslims are going to have to work through. They could do so by a process which forces them to take their foundational texts less literally, or by an intellectually acceptable process of cherry-picking verses. Or prominent clerics could unite to declare the extremists non-Muslim. But there isn’t much hope of this happening. Last month, al-Azhar University in Cairo declared that although Isis members are terrorists they cannot be described as heretics.

We have spent 15 years pretending things about Islam, a complex religion with competing interpretations. It is true that most Muslims live their lives peacefully. But a sizeable portion (around 15 per cent and more in most surveys) follow a far more radical version. The remainder are sitting on a religion which is, in many of its current forms, a deeply unstable component. That has always been a problem for reformist Muslims. But the results of ongoing mass immigration to the West at the same time as a worldwide return to Islamic literalism means that this is now a problem for all of us. To stand even a chance of dealing with it, we are going to have to wake up to it and acknowledge it for what it is.


Essay 2: How to save Muslims from Islamism
By Qanta Ahmad

[Note: There is a mis-naming of the original title ‘How to save Islam from Islamists’ (those idiot, white journalists; they just don’t get it), perhaps no fault of Qanta Ahmad, but it is contradictory in textual fact, argument, and logic. It was thus retitled.]


“We are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands. [T]his thinking — and I am not saying religion — should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world. … Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people. We need a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam, [rather than] relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years.” — Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, President of Egypt

“We must name the beast.” — Qanta Ahmad, British Muslim doctor


The terror attack in Paris last week represents Islamism’s most explicit declaration of war on free society. Non-Muslims were slaughtered in a non-Muslim country to avenge a so-called crime against a blasphemy law that is not even Islamic — but merely Islamist. If there’s any blasphemy here, it’s that of Islamism itself against my religion, Islam.

At last, on New Year’s Day, the president of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, did what no other leader of the Muslim world has done to date: he named Islam’s real enemy. In a gathering of religious clerics at Cairo’s ancient Al Azhar University, he called for the rescue of Islam from ‘ideology’. His speech was given little coverage in the western press, but it is worth repeating at some length.

‘We are in need of a religious revolution,’ he said. ‘You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move because the Islamic world is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost. And it is being lost by our own hands.’ It is inconceivable, he said, that ‘this thinking — and I am not saying religion — should cause the entire Islamic world to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.’ The remedy, said al-Sisi, was for Islam to recognise and talk about its mutant strain. ‘Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people,’ he said. ‘We need a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam,’ rather than ‘relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years’.

Sisi’s speech is significant because the Islamic world has precious little record of leaders discussing Muslims’ collective responsibility for the toxic ideologies within our midst. President Sisi’s candour has shone light upon the most critical issue of our time: the urgent need for the Muslim world to denounce Islamism as the imposter and explain the real meaning of the Quran.

I’m a British Muslim who has lived in Saudi Arabia and worked as a doctor in Pakistan — and I have seen how any discussion about Islam is increasingly dangerous in these places. In nations gripped by Islamist ideology, it’s deemed ‘Islamophobic’ to be critical of Islam in any way. Even in the West, critical discussion is becoming difficult. The United Nations has passed several resolutions giving Islamophobia the status of a crime under international law.

So it’s not enough simply to say, as so many did last week, that the Islamists will never win. In several important arenas, they are winning already. Their idea of blasphemy is particularly potent: Shahbaz Bhatti, a Pakistani government minister, was executed by Muslim ‘defenders of the faith’ after his brave criticism of Pakistan’s inhumane (and explicitly Islamist) blasphemy laws. The governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was assassinated on the same grounds. The French journalists were killed to establish a de facto blasphemy law in Europe by sending out a message: if you publish certain cartoons, you put your life — and that of your staff — at risk.

The jihadists’ other objective, of course, is to speak for the Muslim world and advance the idea of a clash of civilisations. This is going fairly well, if opinion polls are to be believed — more or less half of those in Britain, Spain, France and the United States say they believe that Islam is not compatible with the West. And this is why Muslims cannot rely on presidents and prime ministers to denounce terrorism — the public will be persuaded not by what political leaders say, but what we Muslims say.

To assert that this Islamism is un-Islamic is not a kneejerk response to its atrocities but the only conclusion that can be drawn after serious consideration of its principles. The Damascene Muslim scholar, Bassam Tibi, identifies six tenets of Islamism. The first is seeking a new world order through a new dictatorial global ‘caliphate’. (It matters little that the word ‘dawla’ — Islam as state — appears nowhere in the 80,000-word document that we accept as the revealed Quran.) Next is the establishment of Islamism within democracies — Islamists are keen to stand for election, but once they get into power they want to shut the democratic gate behind them.

The third principle is positioning Jews as Islam’s chief enemy, thereby making anti-Semitism central (as Hamas’s founding charter attests). Then comes the perversion of classical jihad into terrorist jihadism — with which the world has become all too familiar.

The fifth tenet is sharia law — not sharia as described by the Quran, but a concocted version used to impose a form of totalitarian rule which is without historical precedent. As we see, particularly in Iran and Pakistan, mercy has no place within Islamists’ version of sharia.

In his searing study of the subject, the British lawyer Sadakat Kadri makes the critical observation that ‘pitiless punishment’, while lacking in Islam itself, has found a comfortable home in much of the Islamist world. Judges have been ‘required to punish but forbidden to forgive’, meaning stonings, amputations and floggings. Medieval barbarity has become a modern-day reality across much of the modern Muslim world — except that such punishment was unusual even in medieval times. Kadri notes that in five centuries of documented Ottoman legal history, there is only one record of a stoning to death.

When they are not exacting pitiless punishment, Islamists are busy with the sixth tenet: their concept of purity and authenticity. Any challenge to Islamism is, to them, de facto evidence of an un-Islamic behaviour. As Professor Tibi puts it, this is what makes Islamism ‘a totalitarian ideology poised to create a totalitarian state’ on a par with Nazism and Leninism. ‘Given that Muslims constitute more than a quarter of humanity,’ he concludes, the tension ‘between civil Islam and Islamist totalitarianism matters to everyone’.

This tension has been building for years. It has broken out into war in Pakistan, as I saw for myself while travelling with the rangers of the Frontier Corps in Waziristan. I saw Pakistani Muslims — civilians and military — de-radicalise and rehabilitate former child jihadists who had been indoctrinated with Taleban ideology. Pakistani soldiers had no trouble understanding the concept of a jihadist or accepting that the Taleban’s creed is a heresy of our great faith. I saw children greet the military convoy, knowing who had pushed back their Islamist oppressors.

Last month’s massacre of 132 children in Peshwar was a shocking reminder to the Muslim world that Islamism is not just directed at westerners. It’s also a reminder of why the animus against Islamism is rising — holding out the prospect of real reform. The Muslim Brotherhood’s hold on Egypt did not last long, and the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq is giving the whole region a growing sense of what unbridled Islamism actually looks like. Crucially, the jihadis are losing the argument. Ten years ago, a Pew poll found that 41 per cent of Pakistani Muslims said that suicide bombings were sometimes justified. Now, it’s down to 3 per cent.

This is what President Sisi was getting at: this is the moment for the Islamic world to expose Islamism — but loosening its hold upon our faith falls upon those Muslims who value pluralism and pursue a civilised, enlightened Islam. The reformation many are calling for isn’t needed of Islam, but rather of Muslims — and specifically of Muslim leadership.

Similarly, western powers can no longer overlook the very major distinctions between authentic Islam and the jihadist imposter. Failing to call Islamism by its name (a failure of which Barack Obama is, alas, guilty) guarantees defeat. The idea of a war between general Islam and the West is exactly the outcome Islamists seek. Failing to name Islamism out of political correctness, fear or stupidity is the ultimate Islamophobic act. What is seen, often sincerely, as a desire not to offend has only allowed Islamists to thrive within our democracies as they plot their extinction.

So we must name the beast, and do so with conviction. This is not just about weeding out a jihadi menace from Birmingham schools, but about giving millions of Muslims the chance for a peaceful coexistence with the rest of humanity. And it’s about persuading non-Muslims that the Islamists are wrong — that such coexistence is possible.

Muslims are reminded by the Quran that to each people is sent ‘a Law’ and ‘a Way’ and that Muslims should not judge people of other faiths in the light of their own. Instead, the People of the Book must judge themselves by their own revealed texts (‘unto you your religion, and unto me my religion’) as we worship the same God. The Quran teaches that Moses and Aaron are to be revered for their courage in the face of merciless rule. The Torah and the Gospel are to be honoured.

And it is a biblical exhortation — let there be light! — that sums up what President Sisi was saying in Cairo, and what many Muslim reformers are saying now. From the Pakistani badlands to the banlieues of Paris, notice must be served to the Islamists: Muslims — that is to say, real Muslims — are coming for you.

(Qanta Ahmad is a British Muslim based in New York, and the author of In the Land of Invisible Women, about her experiences working as a doctor in Saudi Arabia.)


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